Imagine playing a bomb-defusing game in Virtual Reality or slicing a VR watermelon Ninja-style. Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun if you could actually use your hands to do those things instead of using that pesky controller?
Silicon Valley-based company uSens has come up with a solution for you to grab, drop, click and draw on VR and AR products, allowing a more interactive experience between users and their devices. It’s Fingo, a hand-tracking device that allows you to “see” your hands in virtual reality.
Once attached in front of any VR head-mounted device (Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, etc.), the Fingo module tracks the user’s hands and fingers in space.
Fingo can handle a 60 fps frame-rate with a 20-millisecond latency. It uses mobile-optimized algorithms so developers can easily add full hand interaction without worrying about major tradeoffs like performance and battery life.
Fingo’s hand-tracking technology is a small step, but can be a big leap in enhancing the application of virtual reality in everyday life, said Lynn Sun, uSens’ public relations specialist.
“Fingo is not only designed for gaming, but has a huge market in education, medical training, architecture and design,” Sun said.
Sun gave two examples: Architects working in different places building models together by grabbing virtual objects and teachers writing notes using an anti-gravity 3D pen. “Free hand-tracking can make virtual reality more practical to the general public,” she said.
At CES 2017, the company demoed their Fingo using multiple VR/AR headsets. I tried on the hand tracker plugged into HTC Vive and had my first taste of dribbling a basketball, handing a sword to a Terracotta warrior and drawing lights in mid-air, all in VR.
It didn’t take long for Fingo to recognize my hands. I didn’t feel any delays, either. When I was playing with the basketball, it did take several attempts before I could drop the it (it wouldn’t let go), but I was already pretty impressed.
“Our next step in the rest of 2017 might be working more seamless with the content developers to create a more natural and comfortable VR//AR experience,” said Sun.
uSens will start shipping Fingo in the first quarter of 2017. It will retail at $99.